Is Your Organization Ready to Meet Emergent Risk?

Published: 2020

By Davide Vassallo, CEO, Nicholas Bahr, Global Practice Leader, and Nanda Kumar P, Market Research Manager, dss+

Throughout 2019 and into the first quarter of 2020, we have witnessed an alarming number of incidents and increasing uncertainty around the globe. From the wildfires in Australia to industrial explosions in the U.S. to the most recent coronavirus outbreak – all which potentially have far reaching implications for business around the world. Public scrutiny and media attention to these events and crises have intensified and expectations from consumers, communities, government and industry have increased exponentially.

The risk for incidents to occur always exists, but awareness of the potential impact of these risks goes through peaks and troughs. Possibly, there is a greater perception of risk and its awareness when significant events happen.

ILO has estimated the cost of work-related illness, injuries and deaths to be almost $3 trillion. U.S. employers expend more than $1 Billion per week on the most disabling, non-fatal workplace injuries. According to EU-OSHA, work related injuries and illness cost the European Union €476 Bn every year. In reality, when we look at industrial incident data from the last few years, Lost Time Injury rates (LTI) in the workplace are declining every year. For the most part, industrial companies are making progress in reducing workplace safety incidents.

The number of Process Safety Management incidents have also declined over the past twenty years. However, while the frequency rates are lower, the type of incidents are more catastrophic than before. It’s been almost a decade since Deepwater Horizon happened with the costs and claims continuing to balloon, reaching an estimated $70 Bn and counting.

A large process safety incident typically results in much furor and call to action. Instead of waiting for the next big incident to occur – be it industrial, severe weather-related or geopolitical – now is the time for us as leaders to take action. We must continuously and constantly focus our efforts on evaluating emerging risks, prioritizing and developing actions to mitigate those risks. Be proactive.

From devices to monitor different kinds of risks to using data analytics for building insights, a range of technology advancements help us manage risks much better than before. Make sure we understand the risks we face in our organization and design solutions today to mitigate risks that may impact our operations tomorrow. Before a catastrophic incident occurs.

We likely agree that the attention on risks and the corresponding impact is amplified in today’s media landscape. Does the organizational culture instill in employees the right mindset to constantly identify evolving risks? Shouldn’t we use this as an opportunity to make our employees aware of the risks we face in the workplace and take action to mitigate those risks?